The Union Plus Credit Card: Why You May Want to Pass - NerdWallet
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The Union Plus Credit Card: Why You May Want to Pass

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The Union Plus Card is geared toward union members, and specifically offers discounts and benefits for union members. However, it may not be the best deal for most union members.

The bottom line

If you qualify for this card, then you qualify for a better card somewhere else. Never sign for a card simply because they claim to have your best interests at heart; do some research to find what’s actually best for your own lifestyle.

  • If you pay off your balance every month, you should be earning rewards to the fullest extent possible. You can score an awesome rewards credit card, which will effectively get you something like 2% rewards. The Union Plus Card pays no rewards.
  • The main perk advertised by this card is access to “exclusive discounts”, yet most other issuers offer similar, if not better, discounts through their own online credit card malls.
  • If you don’t pay off your balances every month, you can find a low interest card geared towards your own level of credit.
  • Either way, you can get a card with no annual fee, instead of this card’s annual fee of $0 to $39.

Here’s our beef

  • The Union Plus Card earns no rewards. Even many tiny neighborhood credit unions offer rewards. This means by using this card, you’re losing out on rebates of at least 1-2% on every dollar you spend.
  • Instead, you get benefits that can be found almost anywhere. Like access to a coupon center. See for yourself.
  • The UnionSafe hardship assistance advertised here really has nothing to do with your credit card, and is a benefit that almost any union member can apply for, as far as we can tell.
  • The upfront balance transfer fee and cash advance fee of can be high. These fees are generally 3% or less at other banks.
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  • Agreeablesort

    I agree the HSBC Union Credit Card and HSBC SUCK! I was told by HSBC it was the best card to have while traveling abroad. I called Union Plus before leaving for europe to tell them I would be using the credit card abroad. They said “no problem” and supposedly made a note of it on my account.
    I left for Amsterdam and I was charged for meals which I did not eat. When I checked in to hotel I was told by hotel staff breakfast was not included with the room. Breakfast would be an extra charge. It charged 16 euros per breakfast. There was no description on my reservation whether breakfast was included or not. When I checked out I was charged by the manager for breakfast everyday I had stayed at hotel. The manager told me I had received “bad” information by the staff but breakfast was included and it did not matter if I ate or not I was going to be charged. I notified HSBC I was over charged and they told me there was nothing it could do for me.

    Later on in the vacation I was locked out of my HSBC card rendering it totally useless. I received an email saying I needed to contact Union Plus to get it straightened out. I emailed back and I asked if I could get it straightened out via email and they wrote back saying “no” I would have to contact them in person. I had to pay $2.99/ minute to contact Union Plus and after several minutes on hold they said they had fixed the problem.

    It was a week later and I was locked out of my Union Plus card again for no reason. My payment was not delinquent nor was it over the limit. When I got back to the states I paid off the balance in full and destroyed the card. One would have to be desperate to apply for the HSBC Union Plus card. It and Union Plus and HSBC are worthless.

    • Irina

      I have three types of balances on my Union Plus Credit Card account, two types of balances are transfers with 2.99% interest rate and one type – purchases with 14.99% interest rate. I made payments on my account which significantly exceeded the minimum payment. When I tried to find out how much money I had in my purchases account with higher interest rate before the payments and after, even their Managers could not answer my question. They advised
      to send my enquiries in writing to their PO Box in Salinas, CA.

  • Agreeablesort

    I agree the HSBC Union Credit Card and HSBC SUCK! I was told by HSBC it was the best card to have while traveling abroad. I called Union Plus before leaving for europe to tell them I would be using the credit card abroad. They said “no problem” and supposedly made a note of it on my account.
    I left for Amsterdam and I was charged for meals which I did not eat. When I checked in to hotel I was told by hotel staff breakfast was not included with the room. Breakfast would be an extra charge. It charged 16 euros per breakfast. There was no description on my reservation whether breakfast was included or not. When I checked out I was charged by the manager for breakfast everyday I had stayed at hotel. The manager told me I had received “bad” information by the staff but breakfast was included and it did not matter if I ate or not I was going to be charged. I notified HSBC I was over charged and they told me there was nothing it could do for me.

    Later on in the vacation I was locked out of my HSBC card rendering it totally useless. I received an email saying I needed to contact Union Plus to get it straightened out. I emailed back and I asked if I could get it straightened out via email and they wrote back saying “no” I would have to contact them in person. I had to pay $2.99/ minute to contact Union Plus and after several minutes on hold they said they had fixed the problem.

    It was a week later and I was locked out of my Union Plus card again for no reason. My payment was not delinquent nor was it over the limit. When I got back to the states I paid off the balance in full and destroyed the card. One would have to be desperate to apply for the HSBC Union Plus card. It and Union Plus and HSBC are worthless.

    • Irina

      I have three types of balances on my Union Plus Credit Card account, two types of balances are transfers with 2.99% interest rate and one type – purchases with 14.99% interest rate. I made payments on my account which significantly exceeded the minimum payment. When I tried to find out how much money I had in my purchases account with higher interest rate before the payments and after, even their Managers could not answer my question. They advised
      to send my enquiries in writing to their PO Box in Salinas, CA.

  • Coopcomgrp

    Have had the card since 1992. Called today to check on a rewards program and none. Would like to use the card but I’ll put it back in the safe. Great reward for having the card for 20 years.

  • Coopcomgrp

    Have had the card since 1992. Called today to check on a rewards program and none. Would like to use the card but I’ll put it back in the safe. Great reward for having the card for 20 years.

  • A. Hearod

    short version…. HSBC called my husband and said we were 8 days past due on 50.00 payment. My husband feeling bad for forgetting…agreed to make the payment plus the next months payment. The next months payment went up 75.00 as a penelty for being late on previus one. after logging on to my checking I also see that their was a 14.95 fee for paying by phone. My husband swears that they did not inform him of this either or he would have never agreed. He knows that I could have made the payment online in about 30 seconds for free. Sad thing is so does the HSBC representative also knew this!!! Why would she not suggesst that we do that instead of ripping us off 14.95!!! so you see it did no good for my husband to make an extra payment…..we still gor screwed!!! I will never recommend this card to anyone else!!!

  • A. Hearod

    short version…. HSBC called my husband and said we were 8 days past due on 50.00 payment. My husband feeling bad for forgetting…agreed to make the payment plus the next months payment. The next months payment went up 75.00 as a penelty for being late on previus one. after logging on to my checking I also see that their was a 14.95 fee for paying by phone. My husband swears that they did not inform him of this either or he would have never agreed. He knows that I could have made the payment online in about 30 seconds for free. Sad thing is so does the HSBC representative also knew this!!! Why would she not suggesst that we do that instead of ripping us off 14.95!!! so you see it did no good for my husband to make an extra payment…..we still gor screwed!!! I will never recommend this card to anyone else!!!

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  • rykytr

    Union people are not very bright. Heck a 30 watt bulb is brighter than most Union members. They are too dumb to figure out their Unions figured out another way to gouge them to bankroll Union officer’s outrageous salaries, benefits, jets, and “entertainment”.

    • Agreeablesort

      I do not understand you rykytr. Are you saying you have never been lied to about anything in your whole life? If you have been lied to then tht makes you in the same catagory as those you critisize. It sounds like you are quintessential imbecil that does not have the ability nor capacity to stay on topic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1268793520 Sean Smith

      Cut it out, you moronic troll.

    • bigdaddy

      hey numb nuts you can thank union members for all benefits,health care,paid vacations.paid holidays,pensions,annuities,THE FIVE DAY WORK WEEK.In 2005 my nine year old daughter needed a liver transplant,she got one praise the lord,and now she is doing great.The total cost of the transplant:over one million dollars.My wife and i paid less then $250.00 in co-pays.Her anti rejection medicine costs $550.00 monthly.We pay $0.When ignorant people dont understand something they look like idiots in front of the whole world.Yes lets do away with unions and watch us all have working conditions like China.Happy now?

    • mac mc cabe

      the only plausible reason i can see for this blog is the opportunity to take a slap at unions. having been a union guy since ’55 i’ve seen the good, the bad (and yes, the ugly). put them on a scale, good far outweighs the others.
      oftentimes a remark like this is from someone disappointed s/he couldn’t join a union and that’s sad because s/he missed a good ride.

    • Paul

      Your the not to bright one.Join a union today help save the country

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  • Ron

    Without unions we would all be like the Mexicans,working long hours,no benefits having to come to work sick and passing their germs off to everyone and for all of their so called hard work still live 10 people in a two bedroom apartment.As long as they get to play soccer on Sundays they are stupid oops i mean happy White man takes a job charges an arm and a leg lets say $50,000.00 for trade he probably knows nothing about pays 10 Mexicans peanuts lets say a thousand dollars a piece that’s 10 G.Net profit for whitey 40G.

  • disqus_rEsIA0wrxu

    Article not accurate I get rewards of 2% on my union plus card.

  • disqus_rEsIA0wrxu

    Article not accurate I get rewards of 2% on my union plus card.

  • disqus_rEsIA0wrxu

    Article not accurate I get rewards of 2% on my union plus card.

  • disqus_MzvnMDMSp4

    Had the card and used it for 21 years. It used to be a great card for union members – low interest and skip payments. My husband died this year, and I charged his funeral expenses. Then was I late (less than 60 days)with a payment, and they slapped on a fee and jacked the interest rate up to 25 percent. I called to see if they would reverse the penalty rate, but they would not. Way to treat a loyal customer. I cancelled the card, and I’m posting my unhappy reviews.

  • disqus_MzvnMDMSp4

    Had the card and used it for 21 years. It used to be a great card for union members – low interest and skip payments. My husband died this year, and I charged his funeral expenses. Then was I late (less than 60 days)with a payment, and they slapped on a fee and jacked the interest rate up to 25 percent. I called to see if they would reverse the penalty rate, but they would not. Way to treat a loyal customer. I cancelled the card, and I’m posting my unhappy reviews.

  • disqus_MzvnMDMSp4

    Had the card and used it for 21 years. It used to be a great card for union members – low interest and skip payments. My husband died this year, and I charged his funeral expenses. Then was I late (less than 60 days)with a payment, and they slapped on a fee and jacked the interest rate up to 25 percent. I called to see if they would reverse the penalty rate, but they would not. Way to treat a loyal customer. I cancelled the card, and I’m posting my unhappy reviews.

  • Russ

    I am sure there are better card but this DOES offer rewards point and I use them mostly for airline tickets and I have never had to pay an annual fee. You get 1 point for every dollar spent and 1.5 points for each dollar spent on gas or groceries, and at times you get double points on those items. If my math is correct when I cash in my rewards in for plane tickets I was getting right around 2% back in value from my purchases. Also, I once had a union airline clerk waive my baggage fee ($35 each for two bags!) when he saw the IATSE icon on my card. Maybe we ain’t so dumb after all rykytr!

  • Russ

    I am sure there are better card but this DOES offer rewards point and I use them mostly for airline tickets and I have never had to pay an annual fee. You get 1 point for every dollar spent and 1.5 points for each dollar spent on gas or groceries, and at times you get double points on those items. If my math is correct when I cash in my rewards in for plane tickets I was getting right around 2% back in value from my purchases. Also, I once had a union airline clerk waive my baggage fee ($35 each for two bags!) when he saw the IATSE icon on my card. Maybe we ain’t so dumb after all rykytr!

  • Russ

    I am sure there are better card but this DOES offer rewards point and I use them mostly for airline tickets and I have never had to pay an annual fee. You get 1 point for every dollar spent and 1.5 points for each dollar spent on gas or groceries, and at times you get double points on those items. If my math is correct when I cash in my rewards in for plane tickets I was getting right around 2% back in value from my purchases. Also, I once had a union airline clerk waive my baggage fee ($35 each for two bags!) when he saw the IATSE icon on my card. Maybe we ain’t so dumb after all rykytr!

  • mac mc cabe

    it’s a big disappointment that union plus is hooked up with the notorious wells fargo in a mortgage deal when there is amalgamated bank, the only union owned bank in America for 90 years.

  • machattan

    it’s a big disappointment that union plus is hooked up with the notorious wells fargo in a mortgage deal when there is amalgamated bank, the only union owned bank in America for 90 years.

  • machattan

    it’s a big disappointment that union plus is hooked up with the notorious wells fargo in a mortgage deal when there is amalgamated bank, the only union owned bank in America for 90 years.

  • Will

    Well i agree with the fact that
    the card is not the cream of the crop. I remember when i first got this card
    the interest rate was like 7.9% and then when credit card companies were no
    longer under regulations. My card went from 7.9% to 19.99% simply because they
    were no longer under regulation. What made it worse is that my purchases that
    had the 7.9% interest now had 19.99%. This was seriously crazy for the
    government to allow this. The federal gov’t credit card regulations no longer
    had any say on how and when credit card companies could raise or lower rates.
    Needless to say i will be closing my card as soon as it hits zero balance this
    way keeps your score from taking a bigger hit. You should close cards once paid
    off and also if you have more than one make sure they to have a zero balance
    before closing another. However credit works for some reason if you have
    multiple cards it’s best to get them all to zero balance before closing one of
    them. So long unionplus and like the one blogger said to be a member for so
    many years (over 10 years) and this is the best they can do. Shaking my head
    especially for someone that has almost an 800 credit score, unbelievable.

  • Will

    Well i agree with the fact that
    the card is not the cream of the crop. I remember when i first got this card
    the interest rate was like 7.9% and then when credit card companies were no
    longer under regulations. My card went from 7.9% to 19.99% simply because they
    were no longer under regulation. What made it worse is that my purchases that
    had the 7.9% interest now had 19.99%. This was seriously crazy for the
    government to allow this. The federal gov’t credit card regulations no longer
    had any say on how and when credit card companies could raise or lower rates.
    Needless to say i will be closing my card as soon as it hits zero balance this
    way keeps your score from taking a bigger hit. You should close cards once paid
    off and also if you have more than one make sure they to have a zero balance
    before closing another. However credit works for some reason if you have
    multiple cards it’s best to get them all to zero balance before closing one of
    them. So long unionplus and like the one blogger said to be a member for so
    many years (over 10 years) and this is the best they can do. Shaking my head
    especially for someone that has almost an 800 credit score, unbelievable.

  • Will

    Well i agree with the fact that
    the card is not the cream of the crop. I remember when i first got this card
    the interest rate was like 7.9% and then when credit card companies were no
    longer under regulations. My card went from 7.9% to 19.99% simply because they
    were no longer under regulation. What made it worse is that my purchases that
    had the 7.9% interest now had 19.99%. This was seriously crazy for the
    government to allow this. The federal gov’t credit card regulations no longer
    had any say on how and when credit card companies could raise or lower rates.
    Needless to say i will be closing my card as soon as it hits zero balance this
    way keeps your score from taking a bigger hit. You should close cards once paid
    off and also if you have more than one make sure they to have a zero balance
    before closing another. However credit works for some reason if you have
    multiple cards it’s best to get them all to zero balance before closing one of
    them. So long unionplus and like the one blogger said to be a member for so
    many years (over 10 years) and this is the best they can do. Shaking my head
    especially for someone that has almost an 800 credit score, unbelievable.

  • Damon

    I know all these postings were a year or so ago but just wanted you all to know I am paying off this ridicules high interest rate credit card off on Monday… Every dime I owe them!!
    I figured out it was better to take the funds out of my slow growing IRA and pay this thing off and say goodbye to their high interest rates. What added insult to injury was they raised my interest rates once I retired from my UAW job and when I called to complain they said I didn’t show proof I was a union member by some posted date they supposedly sent out! How crazy is that?? I told them I could fax them a copy of my union card but they didn’t want to hear about it…they knew they had a sucker on the line to pay those 14.99 % interest rates which I did but thank God no more after Monday!
    Oh another thing…I called them every year since 1993 to ask for a lower interest rate but was always told they weren’t offering lower rates at this time….21 years!
    So long Union Plus…matter of fact I plan on cutting my ties with the union and saving those monthly dues for myself..hey that’s the cost of a good dinner at Outback’s steakhouse!

  • Damon

    I know all these postings were a year or so ago but just wanted you all to know I am paying off this ridicules high interest rate credit card off on Monday… Every dime I owe them!!
    I figured out it was better to take the funds out of my slow growing IRA and pay this thing off and say goodbye to their high interest rates. What added insult to injury was they raised my interest rates once I retired from my UAW job and when I called to complain they said I didn’t show proof I was a union member by some posted date they supposedly sent out! How crazy is that?? I told them I could fax them a copy of my union card but they didn’t want to hear about it…they knew they had a sucker on the line to pay those 14.99 % interest rates which I did but thank God no more after Monday!
    Oh another thing…I called them every year since 1993 to ask for a lower interest rate but was always told they weren’t offering lower rates at this time….21 years!
    So long Union Plus…matter of fact I plan on cutting my ties with the union and saving those monthly dues for myself..hey that’s the cost of a good dinner at Outback’s steakhouse!

  • Damon

    I know all these postings were a year or so ago but just wanted you all to know I am paying off this ridicules high interest rate credit card off on Monday… Every dime I owe them!!
    I figured out it was better to take the funds out of my slow growing IRA and pay this thing off and say goodbye to their high interest rates. What added insult to injury was they raised my interest rates once I retired from my UAW job and when I called to complain they said I didn’t show proof I was a union member by some posted date they supposedly sent out! How crazy is that?? I told them I could fax them a copy of my union card but they didn’t want to hear about it…they knew they had a sucker on the line to pay those 14.99 % interest rates which I did but thank God no more after Monday!
    Oh another thing…I called them every year since 1993 to ask for a lower interest rate but was always told they weren’t offering lower rates at this time….21 years!
    So long Union Plus…matter of fact I plan on cutting my ties with the union and saving those monthly dues for myself..hey that’s the cost of a good dinner at Outback’s steakhouse!

  • Kurt 20008

    I have the union plus card. I do not pay any annual fee and I get cash back rather than “rewards points” which do not appeal to me. Give me the good, hard cash.
    I pay off my balance every month, so I can’t even tell you what the interest rate is. Customer service is American based and I don’t have the communications problems I’ve suffered from cards that have overseas call centers. Before I got myself listed on the “Do Not Call” registry, my favorite feature was the strike protection, where you can skip payments when on strike. Not that I never had to go on strike, but with other annoying callers, I asked if their card had this protection (no others do) and that ended the conversation.
    However, I do have one problem with them. They have a hair trigger “security” alert. About once a year they put a temporary suspension on the card because of suspicious activity, which usually means I’ve made a purchase in the morning and then flew to another city where I made a purchase in the afternoon, or other things like that.

  • Kurt 20008

    I have the union plus card. I do not pay any annual fee and I get cash back rather than “rewards points” which do not appeal to me. Give me the good, hard cash.
    I pay off my balance every month, so I can’t even tell you what the interest rate is. Customer service is American based and I don’t have the communications problems I’ve suffered from cards that have overseas call centers. Before I got myself listed on the “Do Not Call” registry, my favorite feature was the strike protection, where you can skip payments when on strike. Not that I never had to go on strike, but with other annoying callers, I asked if their card had this protection (no others do) and that ended the conversation.
    However, I do have one problem with them. They have a hair trigger “security” alert. About once a year they put a temporary suspension on the card because of suspicious activity, which usually means I’ve made a purchase in the morning and then flew to another city where I made a purchase in the afternoon, or other things like that.

  • Jana Pellusch

    That security alert is for your protection. I would not have a “problem” with it. We in the USW have a national strike going on against the oil industry. I am trying to determine whether or not to recommend this card to the members. Input appreciated.

  • Jana Pellusch

    That security alert is for your protection. I would not have a “problem” with it. We in the USW have a national strike going on against the oil industry. I am trying to determine whether or not to recommend this card to the members. Input appreciated.

  • Jana Pellusch

    That security alert is for your protection. I would not have a “problem” with it. We in the USW have a national strike going on against the oil industry. I am trying to determine whether or not to recommend this card to the members. Input appreciated.

  • Christi Wright

    I’ve had this card for 2 weeks and I DETEST it. I have it with my husband as an authorized user to help build his credit. He spent $190 and then immediately sent in a payment (electronically) of $150, and the next day, the remaining $40. It took 3 days for each payment to post…and, even after posting, and having the money withdrawn from my bank 4days ago, there is still a “payment hold” for $149, which after contacting customer service, they say will stay on there for 14 days after the payment has posted! What? For what purpose? The funds left my bank 4 days ago!

    They have no answer other than “look at your cardholder agreement”. This card is crap, and once the newest $50 payment has posted, I am closing it and taking immense joy in destroying the cards in the most vile possible manner.

  • Christi Wright

    I’ve had this card for 2 weeks and I DETEST it. I have it with my husband as an authorized user to help build his credit. He spent $190 and then immediately sent in a payment (electronically) of $150, and the next day, the remaining $40. It took 3 days for each payment to post…and, even after posting, and having the money withdrawn from my bank 4days ago, there is still a “payment hold” for $149, which after contacting customer service, they say will stay on there for 14 days after the payment has posted! What? For what purpose? The funds left my bank 4 days ago!

    They have no answer other than “look at your cardholder agreement”. This card is crap, and once the newest $50 payment has posted, I am closing it and taking immense joy in destroying the cards in the most vile possible manner.